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Game #21 Preview: Blue Jackets seek to stop skid against surging Stars

Here’s what you need to know

Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

Thursday, December 2, 2021 - 8:30 EST
American Airlines Center - Dallas, Texas
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Defending Big D

Columbus Blue Jackets (12-8-0, 24 points, 5th Metro, 9th East)

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Dallas Stars (11-7-2, 24 points, 4th Central, 8th West)

The Blue Jackets enter this game having been heavily outplayed in their last three games, with six goals given up in each of the last two to start their current road trip. Tonight they are in Dallas to face a Stars team which has won five straight.

Player to Watch

Joe Pavelski

Here’s a fun fact for you: When Pavelski was drafted (in the 7th round of the 2003 draft), Cole Sillinger was two months old. Now they get to face off, with Pavelski leading his team in points again at the ripe old age of 37. He is often overlooked as a star but has been a pretty consistent 60+ point guy for most of his 16 year career. He had 51 points in 56 games last season and 17 through 20 games so far this season. It feels like he always answers the call against the Blue Jackets, with 38 points in 44 games (19G, 19A). Last season he scored 11 points in 8 games against Columbus (6G, 5A).

Jackets Notes

Blue Jackets prospect Kent Johnson was named to the Team Canada training camp roster in advance of the upcoming World Junior Championship ... Elvis Merzlikins was pulled in the first period of Tuesday’s game in Nashville after giving up three quick goals; will he start tonight, and will he bounce back to his usual form? ... Brad Larsen rolled out some new lines on Tuesday but by the end of the game reverted back to the old lines, so I’m predicting those for tonight ... The Jackets released the latest episode of Behind the Battle last night. It’s weird but someone in my building must have started chopping onions when I watched.

The Other Bench

When the Jackets beat Dallas in October, they caught the Stars at a low point. Dallas did not earn a regulation win in their first twelve games. Since then, however, they have won seven of their last eight, all in regulation ... The Stars beat the Hurricanes on Tuesday behind a Roope Hintz hat trick ... Not only is Braden Holtby having a bounceback season, he’s having his best season since 2017. His record is only 4-4-1, but he has a .927 save percentage and 2.30 GAA.

Season Series

10/25/2021 DAL 1 @ CBJ 4
12/02/2021 CBJ @ DAL

Stats

Dallas Columbus
2.80 (21) GPG 3.25 (7)
2.75 (10) GAPG 3.25 (26)
26.8% (4) PP% 21.1% (12)
80.0% (21) PK% 83.6% (11)
47.3% (24) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 48.7% (23)
48.0% (22) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 47.9% (23)
7.0 (24) 5v5 Shooting % 8.2 (10)
.931 (6) 5v5 Save % .909 (27)
Roope Hintz, 10 G Leader Boone Jenner, 10
Miro Heiskanen, 13 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 17
Joe Pavelski, 17 P Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 19
Jani Hakanpaa, 27 PIM Leader Sean Kuraly, Cole Sillinger, 17
7-2-1 Home / Road 4-5-0
7-3-0 Last 10 5-5-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Yegor Chinakhov Cole Sillinger Jakub Voracek
Gus Nyquist Boone Jenner Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Alexandre Texier
Max Domi Jack Roslovic Justin Danforth
Zach Werenski Adam Boqvist
Vladislav Gavrikov Jake Bean
Gavin Bayreuther Andrew Peeke
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo
Dallas Stars
Jason Robertson Roope Hintz Joe Pavelski
Michael Raffl Jamie Benn Denis Gurianov
Joel Kiviranta Tyler Seguin Luke Glendening
Jacob Peterson Radek Faksa Alexander Radulov
Ryan Suter John Klingberg
Esa Lindell Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera Jani Hakanpaa
Braden Holtby
Jake Oettinger